Jose Aldo’s history of injuries has forced the UFC’s hand.
UFC president Dana White announced on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” Tuesday that Aldo will not defend his featherweight title against Conor McGregor at UFC 189 on July 11.
Instead, it will be McGregor vs. Chad Mendes for the interim title. The winner is expected to meet Aldo to unify the titles when the Brazilian is healthy.
“It’s his decision,” White said of Aldo’s exit. “I don’t feel great about it. It’s disappointing.”
White stated that Aldo’s “pulled out of five title fights” with injuries so far in his career. He suffered a rib injury in training recently and his coach, Andre Pederneiras, informed the promotion of his decision.
McGregor, who has used each and every opportunity to call out Aldo, continued that during the interview on ESPN.
“I just feel he was beaten mentally before I had the chance to beat him physically,” he said. “I feel he’s afraid. The doctors have cleared him to fight…but he has pulled out.”
When it was revealed last week that Aldo had been injured, the UFC announced Mendes would become available to fill his void. The Team Alpha Male fighter has twice before faced Aldo for the title.
The UFC spent countless dollars promoting the Aldo-McGregor bout, embarking on a world-wide press tour that included stops in Las Vegas, Brazil and Ireland.
Along with the interim title bout, Rory MacDonald challenges Robbie Lawler for the welterweight title in the co-main event.